All Hume needed on the last day of the season was to defeat the Melbourne Knights to clinch the minor premiership, but that proved to be too much to ask as the Knights produced an inspiring performance to defeat Hume 4-2 and gift Green Gully the minor premiership.
A big crowd flocked to Knights Stadium on Sunday afternoon in the last round of the season and the majority went home happy as their team came out winners. The others though went home fuming as Hume seemingly self-destructed right in front of their eyes.
Jacob Colosimo put the Knights ahead on 40 minutes but Hume’s and the VPL’s top-scorer, Richie Cardozo, equalised immediately before putting Hume ahead on the hour mark.
All Hume had to do was hold onto that lead to clinch top spot, but substitute Kayne Vincent turned the game on its head with two goals to put the Knights in the lead before another substitute Shayan Alinejad sealed the win for the Knights in injury time and condemned Hume to third on the table.
Hume players and officials were distressed at the final whistle as they knew Green Gully had defeated Bentleigh Greens to snatch their place on the top of the Alanic Victorian Premier League table.
The Knights had nothing but pride to play for in this fixture and were not going to let Hume have it easy as they pressed early with some fluent attacking football. The first clear opportunity of the game fell to Shaun Romein on twelve minutes but Lupce Acesvski was alert to the danger and easily dealt with his strike.
Hume were seemingly unable to mount any decent attacks with all the chances coming from the home side. And it was no surprise when on 40 minutes the Knights took the lead. Jacob Colosimo, with his back to goal, looped a brilliant header over Acevski for the opener.
But the old saying ‘You’re most vulnerable when you’ve just scored’ proved to be true as Hume hit back straight away through Richie Cardozo with the attacking midfielder volleying home a neat finish past Knights goalkeeper Martin John.
Hume knew the draw might not be enough to secure top spot and they came out in the second half looking like a much more inspired outfit. But the Knights almost re-took the lead ten minutes into the second half when Josip Magdic found himself one-on-one with Lupce Acevski, but the Hume goalkeeper stood firm too deny Magdic a goal.
And just five minutes later it was Hume who took the lead. Richie Cardozo capitalized on some poor defending by the Knights to slot home his second of the match, bringing his tally of goals this season to 19.
As the scores stood Hume would be crowned minor premiers, but the Knights still had something to say as Paul Magdic looked for some inspiration of his own, bringing Kayne Vincent and Melvin Beckett into the fray in a shuffled forward-line.
And it didn’t take long for the two to make an impact, just seven minutes to be exact, when Beckett played Vincent in with a ball over the Hume defence, and the No.9 chipped a ball over an on-running Lupce Acevski to bring the Knights level and knock Hume off top spot once again.
Hume were in trouble and needed to get back in front, pushing a lot of men forward. Doing so, it left them often undermanned at the back and prone to counter attacks, and it was just that which saw them concede again with Kayne Vincent latching onto a great ball by Tomislav Uskok before putting a clinical finish past Acevski to give the Knights the lead.
Many Hume fans thought they had seen enough and headed for the gate. And whatever many were left would have been gone in an instant after Shayan Alinejad scored his first ever VPL goal in injury-time, capping off an inspiring come-from-behind win by the Knights and denying Hume what looked sure to be theirs.
Hume will look to extract revenge on the Knights in just two days time when they face each other again, this time in the Mirabella Cup.
By David Manuca